Dhaval Barbhaya


“Rapid expansion of cities and metropolitan areas must be managed by bold and holistically sustainable thinking both at the micro and macro scale, and by blending of human habitat with environmental ecosystems.”

Dhaval Barbhaya, AICP, LEED AP, is an architect, master planner, and urban designer with over 20 years of professional experience. He plays a crucial role in SWA’s Global Planning and Urban Design Practice by creating bold context-specific solutions that integrate the environmental, social, and physical infrastructure of cities and regions. His work ranges in scale from regional and land use planning to district and block level spatial design that involves layering of buildings, mobility, infrastructure, open spaces, and natural systems into functional and vibrant urban environments. His unique blend of architecture, planning, and urban design skills have allowed him to bridge the gaps between disciplines and synthesize various aspects of placemaking. His work experience comprises of design and development of new towns and cities, mixed-use destinations, transit-oriented developments (TODs), airport cities, land reclamation projects, special economic zones, industrial parks, urban revitalization projects, and streetscape corridors and greenways.

Dhaval joined SWA Laguna Beach in August 2015 after three years in Singapore, leading EDAW-AECOM’s master planning and urban design studio for Southeast Asia as a Practice Line Director. Prior to that, he spent 12 years in St. Louis with HOK, leading and delivering a wide range of master planning and urban design projects both, locally and internationally. Apart from his work in North America, his projects have taken him to South America, China, the Middle-East, Southeast Asia, and back to his home country, India, where he devoted 10 years to designing and building award-winning projects.

Dhaval’s travel has strengthened his belief that each place is unique and rooted in its strong social, cultural, environmental, and political history. In his projects, he continually attempts to strike a balance between tradition and modernity and to make each project distinctive with a strong sense of belonging.

Dhaval has published articles and given talks on the subjects of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD); Smart and Sustainable City Planning; and High-Density Livable Places.


Master of Architecture and Urban Design (MAUD), Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

Bachelor of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India


Member: American Planning Association

Member: Urban Land Institute (ULI)

American Institute of Certified Planner (AICP): 022060

Council of Architects India: CA/2000/26032

LEED Accredited Professional


APA Orange County Chapter: Mission Viejo Civic Core Vision Plan – Merit Award (2019)

ASLA Southern California Chapter Merit Award – Buji River Urban Redevelopment Plan, Shenzhen, China (2018)

Singapore Planning Association Merit Award – Tengah New Town MP (2015)

ASLA St. Louis Chapter Merit Award – Lavasa Landscape Master Plan & Design Guidelines (2010)

ASLA St. Louis Chapter Honor Award – Mugaon Valley Master Plan (2009)